Archive for the ‘Avengers in Sci-Fi’ Category

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 69

April 20, 2012

Sexy time.

Turntable Films- “Misleading Interpretations”

Stabbed in the heart and he still makes it to the show on time! After their stellar debut mini-album, Turntable Films made it into my most anticipated for 2012 and “Misleading Interpretations” does not disappoint. It is sad though to see they’re a trio now, which must be a recent development as I can hear former keyboardist Nozomi Funada all over this track (I think she even has a cameo in this video?).

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 60

December 9, 2011

ONE BUCK TUNER- “Rock and Coke”

Party time at the maid cafe with ONE BUCK TUNER. Bring your own coke!

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Stuff To Look Forward To, October 2010

October 5, 2010

This month we have classic rock music, karate, b-sides, pretty ladies, and boys who wear masks over their face.  In other news I received an email for JRockRevolution.com yesterday saying that I won tickets to see  X Japan in Chicago.  I heard they’re popular.

The Suzan- Golden Week For The Poco Poco Beat

If you haven’t fallen in love with the girls through their single “Home,” then they’ve got a full-length album coming out just for you.  It was produced by Björn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn, and John who also “discovered” them a few years ago at SXSW or something.  They were all over New York promoting it last month and Fool’s Gold will release it at the end of the month. (myspace)

Isobe Masafumi- Sign In To Disobey

Everybody was kung-fu fighting.  Isobe Masafumi, best known as the vocalist of Husking Bee decided to pursue a solo career after Mars Eurythmics broke up earlier this year.  Toru Hidaka of the Beat Crusaders was brought in to produce this album.  Members of Asian Kung-Fu Generation, bloodthirsty butchers, Asparagus, toe, and more stopped by to play instruments.  Sounds a lot like Beat Crusaders. (myspace)

BEAT CRUSADERS- Rest Crusaders

Speaking of the Beat Crusaders, their “last album” is also coming out.  It features the singles “Situation,” “Let It Go,” and a lot of b-sides from their major label career.  There might be one or two new songs stuck in there.  There’s also another b-side collection named Lust Crusaders coming out the same day from their indie label and a live album/DVD in December.  Rest in plaid.

BIGMAMA- Roclassick

BIGMAMA is putting words to music…classic music.  Yeah, we got some Beethoven, Vivaldi, Bach, Dvorak, even Pachelbel.  It even comes with a music video DVD.   I always liked the violin in BIGMAMA so this “concept album” may prove interesting.  Their music video for “Eros Run,” their take on Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (Spring) can be seen below.  (myspace)

avengers in sci-fi- dynamo

The avengers will release their third album and first full-length on a major label.  It includes a new version of the single “Delight Slight Lightspeed” and a bunch of new songs.  If you’ve enjoyed their futuristic sci-fi dance music lazer sound show before you pretty much know what you’re yourself into.  So fly your space shuttle to planet dynamo. (myspace)

SiM- LIVING IN PAiN

Is that George Bush Sr. smoking a joint on the cover?  Looks like something Fat Wreck Chords would release.  And a parental advisory sticker on a Japanese CD?  They must be pretty damn profane.  Well they did tell us to f-off a lot in their blood-soaked PV for “Jack B.”   They’re pretty loud and obnoxious for a band named Silence Is Mine.  Let’s see how political this mini-album gets. (myspace)

Various Artists- World Penguin’s Carnival 2010

Famous post-rock label Penguinmarket Records are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a special compilation and seven days of concerts.  The compilation will feature mostly new tracks from the likes of wooderd chiarie, sgt., nenem, Clean of Core, oaqk, and some foreign bands.  Bound to be one of the best comps of the year! —————————————————————————————————————————————

Links to buy from:

avengers in sci-fi- dynamo: CD Japan

BIGMAMA- Roclassick: CD Japan

BEAT CRUSADERS- Rest Crusaders: CD Japan, Play-Asia

Masafumi Isobe- Sign In To Disobey: CD Japan

SiM- Living In Pain: CD Japan

The Suzan- Golden Week For The Poco Poco Beat: Amazon

Various Artists- World Penguin’s Carnival 2010: CD Japan

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Other stuff I may be interested in:

80kidz- Weekend Warrior: CD Japan, Play-Asia, Myspace

Ashigaru Youth- Nice to MEAT you: CD Japan, Myspace

Asshole Unite- Never Alone/Calling: CD Japan, Myspace

Droog- Violence: CD Japan, Myspace

Lacco Tower- Kaitai Shinsho: CD Japan, Myspace

People In The Box- Family Record: CD Japan, Myspace

Versailles- DESTINY -The Lovers-: CD Japan, Myspace

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Stuff To Look Forward To, September 2010

September 2, 2010

Let’s get dangerous.

world’s end girlfriend- Seven Idiots

What’s more exciting than a new world’s end girlfriend album?  A new post-rock label founded by none other than WEG himself!  But a new WEG album is awesome as well.  And this will be Virgin Babylon’s first release.  “Les Enfants du Paradis” was a little more upbeat/chipper than we’ve come to expect from WEG.  But I’m interested to hear what this “irregular pop album” is all about.  (myspace)

OGRE YOU ASSHOLE – Ukareteiru Hito

What’s more exciting than a new Ogre You Asshole mini-album?  An Ogre You Asshole North American Tour!  That’s right, OYA will be opening for Wolf Parade this November in the States (and Canada).  Hopefully an American label will release some of their material in the States.  Or at least pick up a few CDs at their show? (myspace)

Peelander-Z- PTV

Just when you thought Peelander-Z couldn’t get any crazier, they decided to release a children’s album.  No joke.  Chicken Ranch Records will release the album stateside with a bonus DVD of music videos and extras.  They’ll be touring America (and Canada) a lot this fall so check them out!  Human bowling!  Limbo!  (myspace)

Envy- Recitation

Envy’s fifth album is upon us.  Said to be their most epic yet.  Hopefully that doesn’t mean long, droning songs like on Insomniac Doze.  The two songs that were released remind me of old-school Envy, though.  If you can wait, Temporary Residence will release the album stateside in October on CD and vinyl.  They’ll also be touring America with a bunch of skramz bands this September-October!  (myspace)

Ling Tosite Sigure- still a Sigure virgin?

Ling blew us away with just A moment last year, but apparently we’ve heard NOTHING yet for we are still Sigure virgins.  Get ready for another nine tracks of virgin goodness.   (myspace) ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Other Stuff

avengers in sci-fi- Delight Slight Lightspeed:  Just one b-side for this single, but it comes with a DVD loaded with live videos. (myspace)

HALCALI- Roman Hiko: HALCALI remakes the classic 90s song from Kome Kome Club.  Features ska favorite Your Song Is Good as guest musicians. (myspace)

Rega- Lyrics: The title makes no sense they play post-rock.  (myspace)

RiLF- Ferris Wheel: Featuring members of Anoice and matryoshka.  (myspace)

sleepy.ac- LIVE @ Sapporo Kitara: Live sleepy.ab album?  I’m confused.  (myspace)

Start Of The Day- Love:  New album.  New band members. And no more of this StartOfTheDay crap.  (myspace)

VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE – PRINCIPLE:  A new Vola album?  Yesssssssssss.  (myspace)

Wagdug Futuristic Unity- R.A.M.: AA= released their new album earlier this year.  Time for this other Mad Capsule Markets spinoff that sounds exactly the same to release theirs.

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I was made to hit in America

We’ll be getting the new Peelander-Z and Envy albums in the US very soon, but there’s also a couple of older releases coming out.

Boom Boom Satellites- Over and Over

Boom Boom Satellites will be coming to America this fall and Sony decided to release a compilation album to celebrate.  Over and Over features 17 tracks from Exposed, ON, Umbra, Photon, Full of Elevating Pleasures, and Out Loud.  The only problem?  This is a CD-R release.  That’s right, Sony loves this band so much that the only physical release they plan on giving it is a burn-on-demand product from Amazon.com.  Disappointed.

Boredoms- 77 Boa Drum

Thrill Jockey will release this monumental DVD release from Boredoms.  77 Boa Drum documents a concert held at  the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 7th, 2007 at 7:07pm.  77 drummers were asked to play as one in this live event.

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 9

December 11, 2009

In the last week, I have begun the epic task of organizing my computer’s “Downloads” folder.  That means  finding a lot of stuff I haven’t even listened to so that I can start preparing my end of the year list.  I still have a couple of hundred things to go through so forgive me.  The winner of last week’s poll was sleepy.ab with Overground Acoustic Underground a point behind (I’m starting to sense a pattern here).  This week we have 10 new videos from FACT, toe, winnie, and more…

1000say- “Holy Rain”

I’ve said this before, but 1000say remind me of school food punishment.  Except now that school food punishment has become a shit pop band (thanks, Sony!), 1000say is the only good synth-pop band left.  “Holy Rain” is a lot of fun.  It’s like I stepped back in the 80s for a few minutes.  I can’t wait to get my hands on their new mini-album Lightning Amplifier.  (myspace)

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This Year In J-Rock: 2008

July 25, 2009

Most music blogs give you their year end lists days before Christmas.  Not here at J-rock Explosion.  We give it to you at Christmas in July.  There’s really no excuse for me this time.  I had the list mostly finished by the end of January, I was just too lazy to put pictures and words.  But I think it gave me enough time to fine tune the list, kick off the albums I never listened to since, etc.  Have fun!

Top 3 EPs

3. perfect piano lesson- Terra incognita

With Terra incognita, perfect piano lesson has successfully fused indie and post-rock.  From the quiet and reflective “stew,” to the slow building “untitled,” this is perfect piano lesson’s finest offering to date.  But we still have a couple of their upbeat rock songs, including the excellent closer “Electric City.”

http://www.myspace.com/perfectpianolesson

2. winnie- The Darkest Eternal Lights

With duel male/female vocals, winnie’s first release is a memorable one.  Their English vocals and pop rock tendencies are similar to bands like Jimmy Eat World.  It can be sweet (but tonally dark), as in “lost your sky” and “only time will tell,” or aggressive as in “suck my brain.” I’m not impressed with the single “Starlike Radio” and it’s all male vocals but the rest of the EP makes up for it.

http://www.myspace.com/winnieweb

1. Thursday/Envy- Split (US Release)

Temporary Residence really knocked themselves out on this release.  Not only did they bring over one of the best hardcore bands from Japan, but also one of the best from America (New Jersey to be exact).  As a fan of Thursday previously, I was impressed with their post-rock offerings and “As He Climbed the Dark Mountain,” which made it to their newest album.  Envy’s side started off slowly with a nice post-rock intro and then burst into full on post-hardcore for the rest of their material.  I was surprised, there wasn’t much screaming on Insomniac Doze and then they start resembling the band I loved on All the footprints.  It will also be memorable to me for two reasons, 1) It’s the first album I bought on vinyl and 2) I made a music video for envy’s “an umbrella fallen into fiction” for my television production class (more on that in another post!).

http://www.myspace.com/thursday

http://www.myspace.com/officialenvy

Top 10 Albums

10. the telephones- Japan

The Telephones took us to the urban disco on their debut mini-album and now they bring us back to their home country on their debut album.  I was surprised how chill some of the songs on this album were, in particular the single “Free Throw.”  However, there’s plenty of crazy songs like “DaDaDa” and “sick rocks.”  1, 2, 3, 4, can’t you understand?

http://www.myspace.com/thetelephonesjapan

9. sgt.- Stylus Fantasticus

Ever since post-rock became scene a couple of years ago, bands have constantly tried to infuse different genres into it, jazz being prevalent.  Well, most of these bands just ended up sounding like…jazz.  To this day, sgt. has been the only band that has successfully incorporated jazz and post-rock.  “Saisei to Misshitsu” is a prime example of how to combine horns into a perfectly good post-rock song.

http://www.myspace.com/sgtofficial

8. noughts and exes- Act One, Scene One (US Release)


Why are you including a Chinese band in your top 10 Japanese albums?  Because I love Joshua Wong.  Not to mention, their song “A Minor To A Major” made it’s way to MTV’s Real World (it’s true, I sat through a full hour of this show.  It was horrible.).  Can you say that about any other Japanese band I posted on this blog?  Nope.  Noughts and exes isn’t as good as Wong’s previous band, Whence He Came, but it serves up some nice indie rock.  And I already decided “Everything In You” will be my wedding song, in like 20 years.

http://www.myspace.com/noughtsandexes

7. Beat Crusaders- popdod


It’s been ten years since the band (or just Toru Hidaka) have been together, time to put out a new album!  I’m actually surprised how quickly this album came out, since “Winterlong” was the only single (EPopMaking had soooo many more).  Despite the rush job, there’s plenty of classics on here, like “Time Flies, Everything Goes,” “Chinese Jet Set” and “Work It Out.”

6. Spangle call Lilli line- Isolation

Kana Otsubo has a truly beautiful voice and ISOLATION proves it.  During the fall semester, I went through 2 or 3 straight weeks of listening to this in the morning on the way to school.  There’s nothing like watching the sun rise up with ISOLATION as the soundtrack.  It’s impossible to listen to this and not be put in a good mood.

http://www.myspace.com/spanglecalllilliline

5. Polysics- We ate the machine (US Release)

Grower.  Not a word I thought I would associate with a Polysics album.  I was disappointed with the J-pop direction they seemed to be heading with in “Rocket” and “Pretty Good,” not to mention “You You You” and “Catch on Everywhere” from Karate House, but this album is just as crazy as any of their others.  We ate the machine includes the band’s first endeavor in disco (“irotokage”), breakcore (“arigatou”), shoegaze (“Blue Noise”), and their biggest breakdown yet at the end of “Dry or Wet.”  Yeah, the Polysics are just as spastic as ever.

http://www.myspace.com/polysicsna

4. Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4

If you’re looking for another Japanese hipster band ala Cornelius, Zazen Boys is up your alley.  Zazen Boys 4 is the Zazen Boys’ fourth self-titled album and my favorite to date.  They hooked me right away with the electronic “Asobi.”  The rest of the album is full of eccentricities, the funky “Weekend,” the speak easy vibe in “Taratine,” and the 10 minute dance track “I don’t want to be with you.”

http://www.myspace.com/zazenboys

3. kacica- Mosaic (US Release)

The first name that pops up when I think Japanese shoegaze is kacica.  Mosaic is simply beautiful. Misato yamanaka has a way of sounding like an angel through peaceful musical landscapes or chaos.  Just hearing her voice amidst the hardcore tribal drumming in the title track  “mosaic” gives me shivers.  And I don’t even care if the only way I can understand her English is if I’m reading the booklet alongside it. I highly recommend buying all of their CDs off CD Baby.

http://www.myspace.com/kacicajapan

2. capsule- More! More! More!

Capsule only had time to record one album in 2009, but it’s one of their best. I knew I was in for something special when I watched the 7 minute “JUMPER” music video.  They have successfully transitioned from shibuya-kei to techno/dance and I’m surprised they haven’t attracted Daft Punk fame yet.

http://www.myspace.com/capsulemyspace

1. mutyumu (夢中夢)- イリヤ ~ il y a ~

Opera.  Death Metal.  Post-rock.  Just some of the genres mutyumu clashes together on their sophomore album.  Throw in guest appearances from midori and World’s end girlfriend and you know you’re in for one hell of an album.  Il y a has garnered some praise in the west via the post-rock blogosphere.  In a few years, I think they may even have a large cult following like Mono or Envy.

http://www.myspace.com/mutyumujapan

Close Calls:

Akeboshi- Roundabout- If I had to pick a top artist of the year, it would be Akeboshi.  Like many others, my first introduction to him was Naruto years ago.  Despite loving “Wind,” I have largely ignored him until now.  Akeboshi puts most folk musicians to shame.  Meet Along The Way is one of the best albums of the past five years.  Unfortunately, Roundabout is the only material he put out in 2008.  Even though it’s just b-sides, it includes two of my favorite songs of his, “One Step Behind the Door” and “Along the Line.”

avengers in sci-fi- Science Rock- Dance to the sci-fi music! http://www.myspace.com/avengersinscifi

Comeback My Daughters- EXPerience- An excellent mix of folk and indie rock from the Pizza of Death veterans. http://www.myspace.com/comebackmydaughters

Cornelius- Gum EP– The best song off of 2006’s Sensuous was not on the album.  Thankfully, “Cue” made it to this little EP.  Not to mention the “Eat White Paint” remix of “Fit Song.” http://www.myspace.com/corneliusofficial

enie meenie- Fantasy of Life– Enie meenie has been known for synth crazy powerpop, but they take it down a notch on their latest album, substituting some synth with saloon style piano.  One of my favorite punk-pop bands.  http://www.myspace.com/eniemeenie

GALLOW- Too Virgin!!– It’s no secret, I love the Beat Crusaders.    GALLOW is Toru Hidaka’s and Yukio Iwahara’s “neo-acoustic” side project.  If you’re familiar with the Beat Crusader’s synthesized horns, imagine them over acoustic guitar and you have GALLOW.  In the short month between the release of this and popdod, Toru Hidaka’s English improved ten times.  Peculiar.  http://www.myspace.com/gallowjapan

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs- Mass of the Fermenting Dregs– A powerful debut mini-album from the female duo.  The girls can rock.  http://www.myspace.com/motfd

midori- Aratame mashite, Hajime mashite, Midori desu– Okay, I admit, one of the reasons this didn’t make my top 10 is because the album cover is a naked anime character.  But midori is still as crazy as ever.  Who doesn’t love girls screaming over jazz music?

Muon- The New Mutants- This deserves a mention just for “This Is Not the End.”  Not to say that’s the only good track on the album.  Did I mention it’s free? http://www.myspace.com/muonmagick

Saw Loser- Hits Hit the Fan– 2008 may have seen the last of Saw Loser, but not before releasing cover album genius.  From old school hits “Karma Chameleon” and “Fly Me To the Moon,” to James Blunt’s recent pop sensation “You’re Beautiful,” Hits Hit the Fan is a blast.  They even made the Friends theme song tolerable. http://www.myspace.com/sawloser


For more close calls, check out my RYM list!  http://rateyourmusic.com/list/slickwataris/best_of_2008

Now I hate to leave you without a look at 2009, so here are my top 5 albums at the moment:

5. Ogre You Asshole- Pinhole– A single, but my favorite release of theirs so far.

4. FACT-FACT- Uneven at times, but I’m glad there’s another band that managed to crack into the American market.

3. Utada- This Is the One– I didn’t like this one as much as Exodus, but it’s still pretty catchy.  I think she even managed to crack the Billboard 100 with this one.

2. 80kidz- This Is My Shit– If you like Daft Punk or Justice, you’ll love this band.  A lot of fun techno songs.

1. buddhistson- SLOWDANCE ~wisely and slow they stumble that dance fast~- The second I heard buddhistson was recording a new album, I knew it would shoot up to the top of my list.  Two perfect records in a row, congrats.

Well, that’s it for this year.  Hopefully next year’s will come earlier.  If you want a leg up, here’s my 2009 list on rate your music.  Or come back for the return of This Month In J-Rock (next week?).  Here’s some great 2008 music videos to tide you over: Read the rest of this entry ?

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This Month In J-Rock- November 2008

July 4, 2009

A full 8 months late.  I can’t bear to see this on the front page.  Hit the jump if you dare. Read the rest of this entry ?

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This Month In J-Rock: November 2008 (preview)

December 22, 2008

Winter break begin!  It’s been a long month but finals are over and I almost got straight A’s 🙂  The following are PV’s from albums I plan on reviewing in This Month In J-Rock: November 2008.  Hopefully that will be done around Christmas.  There’s a lot to review!

avengers in sci-fi- “Homosapiens Experience (Save Our Rock Episode.1)”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Comments:  I love this song.  It’s so catchy.  “Save our rock, save our rock, save our rock, save our rock!”  It’s a great performance video.  It’s fascinating seeing these guys play guitars and synths at the same time.  The video follow the same “triangular” theme as the album cover.

http://www.myspace.com/avengersinscifi

dustbox- Spacewalk


Comments:  Random fat guy floating in a pool.  Not as creative as their last video (neurotic white family at dinner table eating) but does the job.  Dustbox reminds me of Ellegarden, with the English punk-rock and what not.  Another energetic song.

http://www.myspace.com/dustboxjp

hare-brained unity-ORANGE

Comments:  “ORANGE” is the latest video in hare-brain’s recent disco system.  With the help of masked power rangers and brilliant choreography, hare-brained brings the dance ROCK.  My favorite video this month.

http://www.myspace.com/harebrainedunity

Oceanlane- Look Inside the Mirror

Comments:  “Look Inside the Mirror” sounds like a British pop song.  Probably because half of their members are from Britain.  This a very delicate song.  Not very rocking at all.  The video uses stop animation and has the lyrics translated in kanji (LOL) scrolled on the right side of the screen.

http://www.myspace.com/oceanlaneofficial

reach up to the universe- S.T.A.R.S.

Comments:  A piano driven pop-punk band, similar to enie meenie.  This song is a little slower than the others on the album but still has some great synth lines.  The video is your standard band performance interspersed with animation of a girl running, reminescent of the album artwork.

http://www.myspace.com/ruttu

Spangle call Lilli line- Cast A Spell On Her

Comments:  SCLL is the ultimate chill band.  It’s easy to find yourself drifting in thought to Kana’s delicate vocals.  They decided to go the artsy way, again, for their new video.  It’s composed of still images of a girl on the beach.

http://www.myspace.com/spanglecalllilliline

Start of the Day- Space Eats the Earth

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Comments:  The best way to describe this band is a female version of Nature Living.  The synths are very heavy in this song with an 8bit quality.  It’s interesting they chose a song without screaming that highlights the singer’s J-pop voice.  This video is a backlit band performance with the members in silhoutte.

http://www.myspace.com/startoftheday

the telephones- Love & Disco

Comments: Not as “disco” as the name implies but another great pop song by the telephones.  This is an interesting video that meshes animation, a newscast, and the band’s performance.  The aerobic scene at the beginning is hilarious.

http://www.myspace.com/thetelephonesjapan





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This Month In J-Rock: August 2008

September 22, 2008

This month’s column is relatively shorter with more emphasis on singles.  Why?  Can’t say there have been many mentionable August releases.  Also, I have writer’s block.  That’s what you get for singing up for three writing intensive courses in one semester.  Bitch bitch bitch on with the show.

THE SINGLES

Avengers In Sci-Fi- PLANET ROCK

Some bands take two years off to perfect their sound.  Others just don’t have money to enter the studio.  Avengers in Sci-Fi seem to be in the latter category.  “Save Our Rock” is essentially “Avenger Strikes Back” Part II.  The melody is mostly the same with different lyrics.  After a few listens, I stopped caring, but c’mon.  “Starmine Sister (miss you so much!),” is luckily more original, although on the long side.  I like the Avenger’s take on dance-rock and I still play their first album Avenger Strikes Back on a regular basis.  Both songs on the EP will be available on their 2nd full-length album SCIENCE ROCK due out November 11.

http://www.myspace.com/avengersinscifi

Bonnie Pink- Kane wo Kameshite

Believe me when I say “Kane wo Kameshite” is an unremarkable single.  But the b-sides more than make up for it.  “Pump It Up!” is easily the best J-pop song I’ve heard this year.  So fast, so catchy.  It’s like cotton candy.  So colorful, so retro!  Pump it up!  Pump it up!  Also included on the single is a great remix of “A Perfect Sky” by some dude named Bjorn which reminds me of a fun day at the carnival. I enjoyed this single far more than I thought I would, even if the real “single” was a stinker.  (*)

http://www.myspace.com/bonniepink

D’espairsRay- Kamikaze

I mentioned last month that this would be my first time listening to D’espairsRay.  I’ve been putting them on the back burner, mostly because they’re visual-kei and have been getting far too much attention over at JRR and the other “J-Rock” websites.  “Kamikaze” is the second unremarkable single in this month’s column that was overshadowed by it’s superior b-side.  I’m sure most D’espairsRay fans will disagree but “Scissors” is so much better.  It’s got a cool techno-metal vibe to it.  I thought they were Blood Stain Child for a second.  It’s great to play while I’m doing 40mph in the construction areas by school, and there are so many streets by school getting cut up…

http://www.myspace.com/despairsray

Detroit Metal City x Negishi- Satsugai/Amai Koibito

Murder! Murder! Kill! Kill! Kill!  Detroit Metal City is easily one of the best manga/anime that have come out over the past few years.  “Satsugai” and “Amai Koibito” are used as the opening and end theme, respectively, for the anime and probably the live-action movie (I so want to see this!).  In the series, “Satsugai” is the debut single by heavy metal gods Detroit Metal City.  The song is about raping and murdering your parents.  Gross!  But the DMC fans eat this shit up.  And it’s hard not to laugh at them.  The second song on this single is “Amai Koibito” performed by Negishi, the real-life identity of Krauser II, lead singer of DMC.  It’s such a catchy love song about making sweet breads and eventually making love to your “swiitsu baby.”  Did it make me smile?  YES.  (*)

L’arc~en~ciel- NEXUS 4/Shine

L’arc~en ~ciel are back with their new single “NEXUS 4” which hasn’t been used as an anime theme song, yet.  But don’t fret, it’s reportedly used in a commercial for the Subaru Legacy automobile.  It’s a competent single, they know what the public wants.  It has some cool dance vibes in the beginning but they quickly fall back into routine.  “Shine,” on the other hand, has been used as the theme song for the anime Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, currently airing on [adult swim] at their 5:30a.m. deathslot.  It’s strange that it took the band this long to release “Shine” as a single, considering Moribito first aired in April 2007 in Japan.  It’s your typical L’arc~en~single, which is to say it’s expected.  “Hydeless” versions of the two singles are included, which means they have no vocals.

NICO Touches the Walls- Broken Youth

I just can’t get away from my anime themes this month.  “Broken Youth” is the current theme for Naruto Shippuden.  I congratulate NICO on making the big leagues.  The single is catchy but not as much as “The Bungy.”  It’s definitely a safe song, it doesn’t break the mold but fits in nicely with Naruto’s rock catelog, not to hide my disdain for all things Naruto.  The next song is slower, quite possibly a love song, and unremarkable.  The ten minute “Guernica” has its epic moments with some awesome harmonica half-way through.  But they’re no post-rock band and shouldn’t do this again.

THE ALBUMS

GOLLBETTY- Betty’s Buggy

What could be better than female ska bands?  Well, a lot, but GOLLBETTY have recently released their third full-length album Betty’s Buggy.  I like to compare them to Oreskaband with the aggressiveness of Ketchup Mania.    “Cool Music,” “HAPPYRAMID,” and “bonds of friendship” have great horn sections and “99%” is a another great 1999-themed song to add to my list.  For the most part, I was unimpressed by this album as it tends to go into pop-rock mode far too often. (-)

http://www.myspace.com/gollbetty

Detroit Metal City- ~for the movie~

I think…they turned…DMC…into a visual-kei band.  I’m sorry but that’s all that comes to mind when I listen to this ten song soundtrack. “Satsugai” is on here, which I love, but these are all DMC songs.  None of the songs by Negishi or Tetrapot Melan Tea are on here which kind of makes it hard for me to listen to. Just from reading the manga and watching the first four episodes of the anime, I can’t recognize any of the other songs on the soundtrack except for the “Rape x10 a second” and the “F*ck” tracks.  I’m sure I’ll like this more after I’ve seen the live-action movie, but it’s a big pass from me right now.  (-)

enie meenie- Fantasy of Life

Officially released in July, I decided to include this in this month’s column for two reasons: I wasn’t able to find it until a couple of weeks ago and this band needs more exposure.  Before this album, enie meenie were mainly a synth driven pop-punk band comparable to Motion City Soundtrack.  They’ve kept some of that for this album but they’ve also added some amazing saloon-style piano to the mix.  The album starts off with the nursury rhyme “enie meenie minie moe, catch a tiger by the toe.”  Frankly, I’m shocked it took them this long to do it but at least it’s out of their system.  “Short Drama” and “Play the Hero” lead off the album strongly while “I May” will go down as one of the finest songs of their carreer.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of slow songs on here such as “Different Nights,” “Parting Song,” and “Sleep” that drag the second half of the album down. However, the first three songs I mentioned are more than enough to recommend this album for. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/eniemeenie

PICK OF THE MONTH

Muon- The New Mutants

I give credit to bands who frequently and consistently give away their music for freeMuon is a three-piece ambient/electronic act from Singapore.  The New Mutants is their third full-length album.  It begins with a guy named Marny doing some spoken word dialog, “how many times do I have to tell I don’t have no fcking money?”  It continues with “From the Cold” and “Against the Grain,” fan favorites from their live material.  “This Is Not The End,” has marching band drums and pounding synths for an epic nine-minutes. “Cylons Dream of Electric Sheep” is the oddball track on the album with sheep “baaaa”-ing every so often.  Outside of the sheep song and “Marny,” there’s no vocals on this album.  They sound and present their material very much like a post-rock band, such as Explosions in the Sky or Mono.  This might not be the flashiest album this month, but it’s quiet and reflective mood will surely resonate with many new fans.  And besides, it’s free, why not pick it up?

http://www.myspace.com/muonmagick

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH

8otto- Hyper Hyper Hyp8r: This month may have been lackluster but we’ll start next month with the latest album from indie-rockers 8otto.

Dir en grey- Glass Skin: The latest single from their upcoming album Uroboros.

Glory Hill- Going Nowhere: The latest album from the ELLEGARDEN wannabes.

mutyumu- i l ya:  Just letting you know this is a top contender for album of the year.

NICO Touches the Walls- Who Are You?: First full-length album from the Naruto rockers.

OLIVIA- Trinka Trinka: It’s been a couple of years, OLIVIA.  I need to hear your angelic voice again!

Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4: Damn! So much great stuff coming out this month.  So far this is dead tied with mutyumu for most amazing album of the year.

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SXSW 2008 & Japan Nite

February 13, 2008

SXSW has released it’s showcasing artists list here.  This list is subject to change.  Here are the following Japanese bands:

aonami

Avengers in Sci-Fi

Damage

detroit7

Dokkebi Q

The Emeralds

Ketchup Mania

Maki Rinka

Petty Booka

the pillows

Quartz-head 02

Sodopp

Please click here for info on Japan Nite 2008!